Diagnostics in athletes with long-standing groin pain

Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2008 Dec;18(6):679-90. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0838.2008.00848.x. Epub 2008 Oct 13.


Chronic adductor dysfunction, osteitis pubis and abdominal wall deficiency are mentioned as pathologies explaining long-standing groin pain (LGP) in athletes. The main objective of this study was to evaluate the validity of diagnostic tests used to identify these pathologies in athletic OKE. Additionally, starting points for intervention were searched for. A systematic literature search was performed to retrieve all relevant diagnostic studies and studies describing risk factors. The methodological quality of the identified studies was evaluated. Seventeen studies provided an insight into pathologies; eight provided relevant information for intervention. Adduction provocation tests are moderately valid for osteitis pubis. A pelvic belt might provide some insight into the role of the pubic symphysis during adduction provocation. Palpation can be used for provocation of adductors and symphysis. Roentgen, bone scan and herniography show poor validity. Bilateral abdominal abnormalities on ultrasound appear to be a valid marker for LGP. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can visualize edema and other abnormalities, although the relation to groin pain is not unambiguous. The methodological quality of the studies ranged from poor to good. MRI and ultrasound should be the primary diagnostic tools after clinical examination.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Athletic Injuries / etiology
  • Diagnostic Tests, Routine
  • Groin / injuries
  • Groin / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sports Medicine